You can get okra at the Greene County Farmers Market, but what are you going to do with it? Contrary to popular belief, properly prepared okra is not that dreadful slimy stuff in a can (shudder). Fried okra is unbelievably tasty, but if you are new to okra, you can start with some easy okra pickles. I’m not big on the hot okra pickles, they are too hot for me, but the rest of you can go right ahead (or just leave the peppers out). You can get the hot peppers at the Greene County Farmers Market as well.
I am big on garlic. There is no garlic to be had at the markets, as it is almost time to plant next season’s crop, but you can find some nice organic garlic at Trader Joe’s or occasionally at Olympia Health Foods behind Town and Country Shopping Center.
The directions are for canning these pickles so they are shelf stable BUT you can also just pack them into clean jars and keep them in the refrigerator if you do not wish to can them.
Hot okra pickles
4 lbs. small, whole okra pods (3 or 4 inches long)
8 cloves garlic
8 banana peppers
8 tsp. dill seeds
1 qt. vinegar
1 c. water
1/2 c. pickling salt
Wash the okra well, drain and set aside. Sterilize your pint jars in boiling water and put into each jar: 1 clove garlic, 1 hot pepper and 1 tsp dill seed.
Pack the jars with okra, leaving ½ inch space at the top of the jar. Mix vinegar, water and salt in a large saucepan; bring to a boil and pour over okra. Prepare the jar lids and fasten to jars.
Process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Let pickles stand about 4 weeks before opening, for maximum flavor.
Garlic okra pickles
3 lbs. small, whole okra pods
3 c. water
1 c. white vinegar
1/4 c. pickling salt
2 cups garlic cloves, minced
Wash the okra well and drain. Pack the okra pods into hot clean pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch space at the top.
In a sauce pan combine water, vinegar, pickling salt and minced garlic. Bring the mixture to a boil and pour over the okra pods, leaving 1/2 inch head space again.
Prepare the jar lids and fasten to the jars. Process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes. Let these sit 4 weeks to develop maximum flavor. Makes about 4 pints.
Okra is high in B6 and folic acid, is high in fiber and lowers blood cholesterol. Enjoy!
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